Dear HOSTL fans,
Since our founding in May 2014, we’ve shared over 1500 stories, inspired over 93,000 followers, sparked dialogue, facilitated civic engagement, connected people to local needs, causes, and volunteer opportunities, like when HOSTL inspired a flurry of bike donations to a local man after sharing the story of his giving bikes to kids in the community for receiving good grades in school or when a HOSTL story motivated followers to form a group of volunteers to donate materials and organize work days to help a couple who were renovating a dilapidated house in the Wells-Goodfellow neighborhood into their dream home.
We’ve shared stories of racial conflict and healing in partnership with Forward Through Ferguson, exhibited stories on maternal and child health at the Brown School of Social Work, conducted youth photography workshops through a partnership with the Contemporary Art Museum, featured refugee and immigrant stories from Bilingual International Assistant Services and for the Portraying Humanity series with Migrant and Immigrant Community Action (MICA) Project, and much more.
There are so many stories behind the stories of HOSTL magic, and every week the dialogue you’ve sparked encourages the team to keep approaching strangers on the street to find more. We’d like to extend the invitation to share in the HOSTL story. We had a few gallery shows at Old North St. Louis Restoration Group from May-Jun 2017, and at the Regional Arts Commission Dec-Jan 2017. Although it was tough to narrow down the body of work, it was exciting to have a curated series for St. Louis to enjoy in person. The featured photostories on this site were chosen collectively with the help of HOSTL contributors, ONSL staff, and Urb Arts. A portion of the proceeds from the exhibit went to ONSL and RAC. And it was truly special to be able to walk through a space that was alive with the images, words, and hearts of some of the people from our region.
Our hope now is that storytelling for companies and organizations, speaking engagements, print sales, and donations will be a springboard for HOSTL to sustain itself as a nonprofit. This means more original storytelling from our city streets, community collaborations, and offering opportunities like #YouthHOSTL to teach teens storytelling. We’re committed to fostering a respectful online community where visual-virtual storytelling is the platform for discussion and civic engagement around local issues, including economic development, public health, social justice, and human rights.
A big thank you in advance for your encouragement, likes, shares, and generous contributions will help us amplify the voices of the people of St. Louis, one photo and story at a time. We appreciate you helping us give life to all the stories beyond the 24-hours that they're usually featured on the page.
Lindy, Caroline, & Dessa